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 2020 Course Catalog




Neuroscience of Learning (required/prerequisite)

In the past few decades, neuroscientists have made amazing discoveries about the neural substrates governing the human brain. In this course you will learn how to translate these new findings into practices and processes that are meaningful in your classroom. You will learn the neuroscience behind how the brain works and how children learn. (Foundations of neuron - structure/function, neurotransmitters, axons, lobes, amygdala, PFC)


Impact of Stress on Learning

Children with ACEs, lack of sleep and high stress will struggle to show any learning outcomes from a typical classroom setting. What does a stressed brain look like in your class?  Simply put, a stressed brain can not learn.  In this course we will discuss the impacts of stress on the learning structures/processes in the brain.  With this understanding, we can develop processes and protocols to mitigate stress and promote learning.  (Amygdala hijack, accessing the PFC, promoting Executive Function)


Addressing Working Memory in the Classroom

The capacity to hold and manipulate chunks of information is a critical component of learning.  A keen understanding of how working memory manages schemata and information processing is essential for effective teaching.  Learn how to apply Miller’s Law in capturing the brain’s attention, grow working memory, and expand executive function.


Structure Before Function: Growing/Strengthening Neural Pathways Essential for Learning and Emotional Regulation

When we understand and grow the learning structures of the brain, we can positively impact cognitive function and emotional regulation.  Learn how to avoid Amygdala Hijack, develop strategies for growing and strengthening connections to the PFC, and gain an understanding of plasticity as it relates to maximizing the brain’s ability to grow/amplify neural pathways necessary for learning (Hebb’s Rule, myelination, LTP, neural plasticity).


Impact of Exercise on Neural Connections

John Medina, in “Brain Rules," stated unequivocally that schools (the way they are set up today) are the last place to expect any learning. It makes good sense to integrate movement, physical activity, and fun into contextual and content-aligned learning schemas with kinesthetic activities that are brain-centric and lively. Research shows that exercise is linked to solid learning outcomes for students.  Learn how exercise impacts neural connections, neurotransmitters, and behaviors by connecting all lobes to activities and mental functions (BDNF).


Creating a Kinesthetic Classroom

Marion Diamond’s protege, Wendy Suzuki - author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life, will not teach a class at her university unless the students are in track suits and partake in ten minutes of aerobic exercise at the start of each class. Her research shows that her students’ learning outcomes are significantly increased because of this kinesthetic classroom event. Learn how to enhance your students’ learning with movement, brain breaks and customized activities that help your learners excel and be happily engaged.


Mindsets (Fixed, Growth): Brain Responses and Self-Regulation

Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets achieves liftoff when it is launched within a climate of Neural Plasticity. Many teachers and parents have had difficulty introducing concepts of mindset to children when their mental models are nonexistent with regard to how learning happens and how experience shapes the brain.  In this course, you will explore meaningful methods for achieving success with mindset strategies and practices. Build a tangible Mindset Board that delivers co-regulation before self-regulation.


Differential Neurobiological Susceptibility to Social Context: Teaching to the Orchid 

Because of modern brain imaging techniques and DNA analysis, we are aware that there are genetic and epigenetic factors that impact our students’ capacity to learn. When a parent or teacher looks at young learners through the genetic/epigenetic lens, they are better able to design and foster educational settings that work. Resiliency impacts learning and behaviors in the classroom.  Learn about how different students require different supports. Solve classroom challenges by teaching to the orchid.


Multitasking and the Impact of Technology on the Brain

At times is can seem as if technology is taking over our classrooms.  We are creatures that seek out novelty and technology provides an endless supply.  Many students (and adults) say that they are able to multitask (accomplishing deep work/learning while also using a device), but for most of us, this is really not the case.  Our brains have learned to switch-task (with efficiency, accuracy, attentional costs).  Learn how to help your students understand the impact of technology on their brains, how to limit negative brain impacts, and how to enhance productivity.  Explore how 21st century learners can co-create a brain/technology compatible classroom.  


Co-Creating Safe Spaces for Students

John Bransford’s How People Learn is a critical mainstay for understanding adolescent learners. Trust, a sense of fairness, social justice and equity are paramount for young people as they navigate their identity spaces, look for purpose and explore their abilities. In this course, we will highlight the essential ingredients for a safe and purposeful classroom that engage children’s brains at a deep and sensitive level. When children engage in and co-create their learning environments, classrooms become significantly safer and more aligned with learning outcomes that matter.


Impact of Sleep on Memory and Learning

The brain doesn’t turn off when the body is asleep - it stays active.  In REM, our brains are busy resupplying our neurons with neurotransmitters, solidifying and amplifying neural pathways with myelination, and consolidating our day’s learning into memory.  While we know that sleep is necessary, most of us are not aware of how critical it is to learning.  Many parents, teachers and students are sleep-deprived and stressed, yet we rarely discuss how critical sleep routines are for growth and cognition.  This course will shed light on the intricacies of the sleep process and discuss how learning can be amplified when a child’s circadian rhythms are aligned with school activities. Each child is prompted to take agency over his/her own sleep hygiene and share it within the family structure at home.  


Boredom as a Stress Response: Understanding the Brain’s Response to Boredom - Ways to Activate Engagement and Focus

Boredom is the number one stressor for adolescent learners who are processing in 21st century tech-enabled environments, yet teachers rarely connect boredom with stress and the recalcitrant behaviors that accompany it. The child who is bored is consigned to only one of three choices—fight, flight or freeze—as dictated by the reactive brain.  The student is unable to focus attention and engage with learning.   Discover how to increase engagement with attention, agency and autonomy (3A’s).


Backward Design in a Neuroscience Model: Curriculum Design Framework

Based on powerful and proven research by Wiggins & McTighe (1999), The Backward Design Approach has achieved widespread success in fields ranging from education to corporate training.  This curriculum design framework is based on “beginning with the end in mind.”  It is used to better understand the steps necessary to achieve student learning.  This approach is based on the brain’s inherent desire to link learning to past experiences, to chunk concepts into bytes that function within working memory constraints (Miller’s law), and to scaffold information to avoid cognitive overload.  


Challenge Mosaic for Personalized Learning

The Challenge Mosaic model is aligned with how the brain works. It embraces pedagogical underpinnings that capitalize on the expertise of neuroscience and how it relates to teaching and learning. Elements of this iterative approach are designed to engage, arouse, ignite, and fulfill the learner on a social, emotional, and personal  way. Focus stems from a place of intrinsic motivation that delivers for each child autonomy, mastery and purpose by honing the child’s natural curiosity and ability to Reflect, Revise Thinking, and Report Out (3R’s).